From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buildings Are Not Forever

Get a picture while you can.



Two red barns in evening lightTwo red barns in evening light


In April, 2007, I wrote a post titled "Two Red Barns on Edwards Mill Road" that included morning and evening photos of a couple of old barns.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to drive down Edwards Mill Road on my way home. I was shocked when I saw that both my red barns had fallen down, sometime during the winter. I don't know if they were bulldozed, or if a bad wind toppled them.

One day this week, I decided to photograph them in their fallen condition. I was too late. The farmer has burned them and bulldozed their remains into a couple of piles. In a year or two, there will be little to suggest that those barns ever existed.

I know they weren't important structures, but I liked them. I'm glad that I have a nice photo of them.

I didn't do so well with another old building. About a year ago, a large farm in our neighborhood was sold at auction. The property included an old white farmhouse with a big front porch. It had stood empty for a number of years.

I had been inside the house a couple of times. It had an old-time floor plan with a large central entrance hall. I'm sure it was well over 100 years old. I had always wondered if the house might be made of logs under the siding.

One night several months ago, I came past that farm on my way home. I noticed the glow long before I knew what was burning. As I came closer, I saw that the old house was on fire. Flames were shooting through the roof. The whole area was illuminated. It was a frightful sight, but it appeared to be a planned burn. The owner was standing by with a bulldozer and a crew of helpers, and the fire department was nowhere in sight.

I wish I had a picture of that old house, but I don't. However, I did happen to find a 1930s photo of a Christian County, KY, house that is similar. Therewith, I must be content.

I hope I've learned my lesson now. This is not the first old building that I should have photographed, but didn't!

Rubble of two burned barnsAll that remains of the two red barns

5 comments:

Lesa said...

My heart sinks when I see buildings like this torn down. I like to take pictures of old houses and buildings also. It makes me think of the love and skill that went into the building of the houses.

Genevieve said...

Hi, Lesa. Thanks for stopping by. To be honest, I just don't like to see time marching on. I like for buildings to be in their proper places so I can admire them when I go by, just as I always have.

threecollie said...

So sad when the beautiful old buildings go down! Glad you got photos of those lovely barns anyhow!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Hi Genevieve,
Your post reinforces the idea to take photos of places when the opportunity arises -- not later. Also, I suspect that the materials in these fallen structures were not salvaged for reuse creating a valuable loss of architectural history and probably virgin timber!-- barbara

Genevieve said...

The only thing that they salvaged from the house, I believe, was a tin kitchen cabinet and the surround from the fireplace. Then the surround sat out in the weather for months propped against an electric pole. I considered picking it up and taking it home. Finally it disappeared.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.